Welcome to the first edition of Grist Test Kitchen, where we taste green, wacky, and (hopefully) edible foodstuffs and share our flavor insights in a short video recorded on an improperly held iPhone.
The inaugural selection is Ambronite, an organic, vegan, gluten-free supermeal supplement. Hate eating? Wish you lived in a dystopian nightmare where an all-in-one slurry fed you in between battles with The Machines? Ambro’s got your back, bro. Why partake in one of life’s greatest pleasures when you could slurp a tall glass of almost-flavorless liquid instead for the rest of your natural life?
Similar product Soylent has been getting plenty of attention recently, but there’s still a hunger for the new and improved in the sustenance-for-people-who-don’t-make-time-to-eat scene. Ambronite is $7,500 away from its $50,000 Indiegogo goal with plenty of time to go. If they succeed, early backers get their packets of delicious Ambronite by September 2014.
Why we picked it: This promotional video shows charming, attractive Finnish people praising the stuff without clutching their sides in hungry desperation or weeping about what soulless husks they’ve become. Consider one CEO’s endorsement: “I have eaten Ambro at home, in a board meeting, while pitching to investors, while hiring [pause] and firing people [maniacal laugh].” Let’s all take a moment for the poor souls who were terminated at the same time their boss was getting a little extra zinc in. We decided that if it’s good enough for the Finnish Mr. Burns, it’s good enough for us.
Plus, collectively the Grist staff could learn to love food a little less. We’ve trampled each other in stampedes to get the best pick of free cookies in the kitchen; chili cookout contests inspire yearlong grudges. One fellow even has a drawer full of emergency bread. If we could get over food, for the sake of workplace safety and OSHA desk-drawer standards, shouldn’t we try?
Initial observations: The serving suggestion was a bit confusing in light of how much water it told us to add. You can’t be serious about the two cups per packet thing, Ambro. It took multiple people mixing and additional water just to move the stuff from cement into semi-liquid territory. Breaking up green sludge just to discover additional pockets of powder does not a food hater make.
Most favorable response: Senior Editor Lisa Hymas found the Ambro unoffensive and flavorless. “There are worse things you could eat in a climate apocalypse,” she said. Ringing endorsement, Lisa. She took the extra packet home for smoothies.
Least favorable response: “HURK [doubles over and covers mouth to stifle gag reflex]” – Eve Andrews, Grist fellow
Verdict: The flavor was just fine; the texture wrinkled some noses. This could be solved by blending Ambronite with fruits and veggies (or as one staffer in the video whispered, ice cream). Or you could down it with a warm hamburger at your next company restructuring and call it even.
Next up in Grist Test Kitchen: Insect buffet!